Alma Richards Athlete Profile | BYU Cougar Club

Alma Richards Athlete Profile

Alma Richards

Alma Richards
Positions: High Jump, Decathlon Hall of Fame: 1975 Last School: BY High School

  • 1975 Men's Track & Field

1975 Hall of Fame Inductee

Alma Richards, Utah’s first Olympic champion in any sport, claimed he got his running and jumping abilities from chasing jackrabbits in the fields near his home in Parowan. In 1912 he set an Olympic high jump record of 6 feet 4 inches in Stockholm, Sweden. He was high jump champion in the National AAU meet in 1913, and in the 1915 meet he won the decathalon, competing in all ten events in one day.

After leaving BYU in 1913, Alma was given a scholarship to Cornell University, and he earned his degree in 1917. In 1924 he graduated from the University of Southern California with a LL. B. degree and was later admitted to the California bar. Teaching gave him time for athletics, and so he taught in a California secondary school for thirty-one years before retiring in 1953.

In his twenty-one years of athletic competition Alma won more than 245 medals and trophies in track and field events all over the world. He won fifty-five championships in sixty-three events. In 1947 he was nominated Mountain West Athlete of the Century, and he was elected to the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1956. His medals and trophies, once displayed at the Helms Hall of Fame, have been donated to BYU.